BURA Façade Improvement Grant

The Brighton Urban Renewal Authority (BURA) Façade Improvement Grant Program (Grant Program) is a competitive grant program meant to encourage property owners and tenants of buildings within eligible portions of Brighton’s core downtown plan area (shown on Appendix 1) to make building improvements that will revitalize the area and attract customers to shop, dine and do business in Brighton. These Grant Program Guidelines (Guidelines) are meant to assist applicants with going through the process of applying for a Façade Improvement Grant and outlining what improvements will be considered.

Click here for a map of the Core Downtown BURA Plan area

Click here for a printable version of the application

BURA reserves the right to amend these Guidelines at any time if it is determined necessary in order to provide more clarity, flexibility or restrictions to the Grant Program.


The Grant Program is eligible to commercial and residential buildings within the Core BURA plan area (Grant Area) identified by the attached map at Appendix 1. An owner or tenant of a building within the Grant Area may apply for grant funding. Tenants must provide written approval from the owner of the building to submit a Grant Program application (Application). Only one application may be submitted by an applicant per grant cycle. An applicant that has an outstanding grant award that has not been completed pursuant to the Application Process described in these Guidelines is ineligible for a new grant award until all outstanding work on any previous grant is complete.

Grant Funding Available

The applicant must provide a minimum 50% match for any amount awarded. The BURA Board will make a determination annually on the amount of grant funding available each year. Reimbursements will be made to the applicant provided that the work performed is as approved by BURA. If changes are necessary, the applicant may provide an explanation of any changes in person at a regular meeting of the BURA Board. If BURA approves the changes, then the award amount will continue to be dispersed. Grant disbursements will be as follows:

1. Upon completion of work as awarded through the Grant Program, Applicant shall provide receipts of project expenses throughout the project, as well as proof of payment of said receipts. BURA will reimburse those receipts up to 80% amount of the grant award amount.

2. Upon completion of the project, BURA will provide the remaining balance of the grant award to the applicant. If the applicant did not request previous disbursements, the entire grant will be awarded upon completion of the project. Completion will be determined based upon the procedures set forth under the Application Process section below.

Eligible and Ineligible Improvements

With respect to exterior façade improvements that qualify under the Grant Program, only improvements made to façades visible to the public from the street or sidewalk are eligible.

Prior to submitting an Application for improvements to a building that is over fifty years old, the applicant is encouraged to review the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (the “Standards”) located at https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/treatment-guidelines2017.pdf. Work that substantially conforms to the Standards, where applicable, may be viewed more favorably by the BURA Board.

Eligible improvements include:

• Restoration and cleaning of masonry, including brick, stone and concrete. Power washing is discouraged as a method to clean brick on any building receiving grant funding.

• Repair or replacement of windows. If windows are the original, historic windows, repair is preferred. Where repair is not possible, replacement windows of the same material, size and shape are encouraged.

• Lighting attached to the building that accentuates signage or other significant architectural details of the building. All lighting will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to ensure it complements the building façade.

• Restoration and repair of original architectural details of the building, such as the cornice and window details.

• Removal of inappropriate façade materials.

• Installation or repair of awnings.

• Repair of doors or replacement of doors where it is found the proposed door complements the building façade.

• Painting. The color should take into consideration the surrounding buildings and character of the Grant Area. Painting over brick is discouraged.

• Signage. All signage will be reviewed to ensure that it complements the building and the character of the Grant Area. Eligible signage may include projecting signs, storefront signs or restoration of original architectural signs. Generally, signage should not cover distinct architectural features of a building. Initial written approval of the sign from the City must be provided with the grant application.

• Architectural design assistance for an applicant to enlist an architect to provide recommendations on appropriate improvements to the building.

Ineligible improvements include, but are not limited to, improvements that:

• Were started or completed prior to applying for the Grant Program.

• Exterior improvements that are not made directly to a façade, such as benches, planters, parking, etc.

• Improvements that are not visible from the street or sidewalk.

• Are not found to be complementary to surrounding buildings and neighborhood character or the original character of the building.

• Are made to a historically designated building that have not been issued a Certification of Appropriateness by the Brighton Historic Preservation Board.

• In addition, building permit fees and other administrative fees that may be required by the City are not eligible for grant funding.

Application Process

A pre-application conference with BURA/city staff is required prior to submitting an Application to discuss the proposed project and any requirements. This conference must be completed at least two weeks prior to the application deadline. To schedule a pre-application conference, contact BURA staff at 303.655.2150. Brighton Historic Preservation Board prior to submitting their Application. For more information on meeting with the Historic Preservation Board, please contact City staff at 303.655.2051 or visit https://www.brightonco.gov/193/Historic-Preservation-Commission.

All Building Renovation Program Applications must be submitted by no later than December 15, 2023 at 5:00 PM. Applications may be submitted electronically or in hard-copy format by any one of the following delivery methods:

1. Hand-Delivery. Hand-delivery of Applications (either electronic or hard-copy) must be delivered during business hours (Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, excluding holidays) to City Hall at 500 S. 4th Avenue, Brighton, Colorado so they are received by the deadline date of December 15, 2023 at 5:00 PM. Hand-delivered Applications should be labeled to the attention of the Brighton Urban Renewal Authority.

2. Email. Applications may be emailed to aherrera@brightonco.gov by no later than December 15, 2023 at 5:00 PM. Please enter “Façade Improvement Grant Program Application” in the subject line of the email.

3. U.S. Mail. Façade Improvement Grant Program Applications may be mailed to:

Brighton Urban Renewal Authority

500 S. Fourth Avenue

Brighton, CO 80601

Mailed Applications must be postmarked on or before December 31, 2023. It is the applicant’s responsibility to confirm with BURA staff that the Application was received.

The applicant shall submit a fully-completed application, along with the following attachments:

• Proof that a pre-application conference was held with BURA staff to discuss the project prior to submitting the Application. This conference must be take place at least two weeks prior to the application deadline. Contact BURA staff at 303.655.2150 to schedule this meeting.

• Architectural renderings, site plans and/or other visual representations of the proposed improvements. For paint, a paint sample of the proposed color should be provided.

• Photos of the building. For exterior façade improvements, provide photos for all sides of the building that improvements are being requested for.

• Two estimates from licensed contractors, except that applications for painting a façade do not require multiple contractor estimates.

• For an application for signage, initial approval from the City of Brighton Community Development Department must be provided.

• The property owner shall submit proof of ownership of the building.

• For historically designated buildings, a report of acceptability stating the work is approved by the Brighton Historic Preservation Board. Note that the process to receive a report of acceptability can take a month or longer, so you should begin this process as soon as possible.

BURA staff will review all applications to ensure that it is complete and all required attachments are included. If there are any items missing and the application has been submitted at least one week in advance of the application deadline, staff will inform the applicant of any missing information so they can supplement their application prior to the deadline. If it is determined the Application is not complete at the time of the application deadline, or there are attachments missing, the Application will not be accepted. The applicant may resubmit a completed application during the next grant cycle.

The BURA Board will then review all eligible applications at the regular BURA meeting immediately following the application deadline and will consider projects based on grant award criteria, as further defined below. BURA will compare the amount of grant funds requested to the amount of available funds, as determined annually by the BURA Board. Grants will be awarded to the projects at the sole discretion of the BURA Board. The number of grants awarded will be based upon the funding available.

Note that because applicants are only permitted to submit one Application during each grant cycle, that applicants may choose to phase larger projects into smaller, more manageable projects. However, approval of an Application does not guarantee that subsequent applications will automatically be awarded.

Final approval is contingent upon the applicant entering into a Façade Improvement Grant Program Agreement (Agreement) with BURA, which outlines the terms of the Grant Program and criteria for receiving a Façade Improvement Grant. The Agreement must be finalized by no later than 45 days following approval of a grant award by BURA. If it is not finalized within this time, then the grant award will become null and void.

The project must be completed by no later than 180 days after finalizing the Agreement. An extension may be requested if a written request is submitted by the applicant prior to the next BURA meeting that immediately follows project completion deadline. At the BURA Board’s sole discretion the extension may or may not be granted. If the extension is granted, BURA will continue to reimburse the applicant for work performed on the project as agreed upon in the Agreement.

At the completion of a project, applicant must schedule a final inspection with designated BURA staff, and for work requiring a building permit, the City Building Inspector. BURA staff will provide written confirmation to the BURA Board that the work has been completed as agreed upon in the Agreement. The Applicant should also submit an invoice to BURA showing the final project costs. Upon review of these documents, BURA will issue the final remaining grant award to the applicant after making a determination that the work was indeed completed as agreed, and upon receiving proof that the applicant has paid for said work.

Grant Award Criteria

• Preference will be given to projects that have a high visible impact on public streets and for projects that seek to restore architecturally significant features of a building or have a significant likelihood to increase visitors, employees and/or businesses to the Grant Area. The following criteria will specifically be taken into account by BURA when reviewing a Façade Improvement Grant Program Application:

• Instances where an immediate renovation would stop serious deterioration of the building’s façade, or where architecturally significant features contributing to the building’s character are in danger of being lost.

• Projects that would restore the historic features of a building; where historic features are being removed or altered, whether the improvements have a high degree of aesthetic appeal and are complementary to the surrounding Grant Area.

• Projects that demonstrate the ability to attract people to the Grant Area.

• Projects that would result in significant new investment and the creation of jobs in the Grant Area.

• Projects involving buildings with vacant or underutilized spaces where the overall marketability of the building would be improved.

• Applications that demonstrate the applicant’s capacity to complete the project.

Additional Grant Requirements

The applicant shall comply with all applicable provisions of the Brighton Municipal Code and the International Building Codes enforced by the City. By submitting an Application, the applicant agrees to allow the City to inspect the building for Code compliance. Applicants shall obtain all required building permits prior to starting work on the project.

Businesses must be in good standing with the City of Brighton including the Sales and Use Tax Department, Utilities Department and Code Enforcement. If your building is in violation with Code Enforcement and you are utilizing the grant to bring your building into compliance an exception may be considered.

Municipal Code violations discovered after the project acceptance will not result in disqualification from the Grant Program, but corrections of such violations shall be incorporated into the project. BURA retains the right to withhold reimbursements from the applicant until such violations are corrected to the satisfaction of City staff.